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Macroevolution was not a clear concept back in 1980 either

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Further to “Is ‘macroevolution’ even a meaningful term?” It’s time to ask, the term seems to have long been problematic. Mathematician Granville Sewelloffers a .pdf of a clipping from the New York Times in 1980:

At issue during the Chicago meeting was macroevolution, a term that
is itself a matter of debate but which generally refers to the evolution of major differences, such as those separating species or larger classifications. Most agree that macroevolution is, for example, what made crustaceans different from mollusks. It is the process by which birds and mammals evolved out of reptiles. It is also what gave rise to major evolutionary innovations shared by many groups, such as the flower in higher plants or the eye in vertebrates.

Darwin suggested that such major products of evolution were the results of very long periods of gradual natural selection, the mechanism that is widely accepted today as accounting for minor adaptations. These small variations, considered products of microevolution, account for such things as the different varieties of finches Darwin found in the Galapagos Islands. Under human control, or “artificial selection,” microevolution has produced all the varieties of domestic dog, all of which remain members of a single species.

Darwin, however, knew he was on shaky ground in extending natural selection to account for differences between major groups of organisms. The fossil record of his day showed no gradual transitions between such groups but he suggested that further fossil discoveries would fill the missing links.

So the idea of “macroevolution” was a matter of debate back then, and thirty-five years later, as James Tour says, virally, no scientist alive understands it.

Darwin is still on shaky ground everywhere but in the textbooks.

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14 Replies to “Macroevolution was not a clear concept back in 1980 either

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Smoking gun, cf PDF here.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: here’s my markup of Sewell’s clip from Houston Chronicle using a NYT article on the 1980 Field Museum closed doors meeting of the 150 on punc eq and macro and micro evo, with added cite from Gould. It’s all there folks, evo as “fact,” horse sequence as not showing real transitionals, horse seq as not accurate but presented to the public, micro and macro evo term in evident routine use by top scientists [with brief defns according with what we at UD have said], unobservability of key changes imagined in soft parts, but not visible to the paleontologist looking on, the potential revo imposed by punc eq, punc eq as seeking to explain lack of transitionals/stasis, etc etc. There’s even a how dare you take a different view in there. All the things we are told ever so confidently are our distortions, documented by the Newspaper of record for US in its heyday. Smoking gun. Thanks Dr Sewell. KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Genetic code as common being used as an argument from homology to universal common descent too. What do codes and algorithms, on our universal actual observation, signify, again? What, therefore, should we infer on vera causa?

  4. 4
    lifepsy says:

    I have brought this paper up to numerous evolutionists in the past. I’ve never seen a response that so closely resembles sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and shouting “LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!”

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    If you are to accept the teaching of macroevolution as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. You must believe that mutations and natural selection produced all complex life-forms, despite the fact that a century of research, the study of billions of mutations, shows that mutations have not transformed even one properly defined species into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradually evolved from a common ancestor, despite the fact that the fossil record strongly indicates that the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds, even over eons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on fact or on a myth?

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    1980s? Macroevolution has never been a clear concept. It has always been

    “Well we don’t know how now but we will figure it out. We can be confident because we know it happened.”

    And today that has become blind faith in developmental biology, which evos call evo-devo-

    “Ok, like we found the genes, OK. Called HOX genes OK. And like we know if we mess with those genes, like weird things happen OK. Duplicate those genes and then like modify the duplicate and there it is OK. And we know it happened so what is your problem? Like get with the program already OK.”

    You need to speak that last bit in the voice of the guidance counselor in South Park (Mr Mackey)

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    I repeat, smoking gun. Read it, process it, face it, weep for our civilisation and its intellectual culture.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Remember, the closed doors Field museum meeting of the top 150 included the leaders of evolutionary theorising. Look at what they had to acknowledge among themselves about micro and macro evo, stasis, lack of tranisitonals, invisibility of hoped for but unobservable transitions, and more. Then ask why people are screaming fact, fact fact and comparing this to the roundness of the earth or the orbiting of the planets around the sun.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Then, watch the Plato’s Cave parable video here, and notice the reaction to the returning former captive. Is what is going on at the various objector sites (especially those that are like hecklers’ conventions) any much different from that? In that light, let us think about what Lewontin had to say in that notorious NYRB article in January 1997.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:



    Lewontin: >> . . . the problem is to get them [the general public] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations [–> Loaded language full of both a priori materialism and hostility to God and anything that may remind of that unwelcome Lord, that just jumps out at you] , and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [ “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you are inclined to believe the dismissive, accusation-loaded talking point that his excerpt is “quote mined” kindly cf the wider extract and notes in the linked and the onward linked text of the article as a whole. Nothing can justify or excuse this sort of indoctrination in materialism under false colours of science and education, nothing.] >>


    The publicists for evolutionary materialism and the educators and policy makers who have gone along with this, have a LOT of explaining to do, especially when we see for ourselves what has now happened with the challenge to actually warrant their claims, after a year and a half.


  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Lewontin told us, in advance, what all of this redefinition of Science and its methods as presented in schools game that has been pushed so hard over the past 15 or so years, was about.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: And just yesterday, BA has told us — as an expert who had to deal with the case — of its consequences, at Columbine . . . which was at about the same general time. Do we need any clearer warning than this?

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    Philip Johnson’s retort to Lewontin, November that year, was dead on target:


    Johnson: >> For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.] >>

    Those who are blindly serving or duped by such a priori evolutionary materialist ideological agendas draped in a lab coat, need to do some serious rethinking.

    But, in a polarised, toxically clouded atmosphere such as agit prop artists are expert at spewing up, too many people are too confused and angry to think straight.

    (And before you hastily play out the cult programming and resort to the turnabout accusation propaganda tactic [which of course creates even more toxic and polarising confusion, why they love it so], kindly take time to actually consult the evidence in play, starting with that smoking gun NYT derived news article. That is what the leadership of the evolutionary materialist school of thought were saying behind closed doors in 1980, and it is linearly connected to what has been happening since. You may also want to look on down from the linked cite of Lewontin, for more, much more, including statements by the US NAS and NSTA, guardians of science and science education. Then, kindly, think again on what is really going on in this Plato’s Cave rife with clever shadow shows and toxic but intoxicating smoke.)

    Wake up, wise up, act up — before it is too late!

    And, hecklers’ conventions this one’s for you:



  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Oh, dear, it looks like Cosmos II with Mr DeGrasse Tyson seems to be making itself into the poster-child for the sort of concerns just outlined. HT Luskin. KF

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